Family, mayor critical of delayed response to fatal Beardstown fire

Here was the scene of the April 15, 2012 fire at 5061 N. Hagener Rd. in Beardstown.

A Beardstown man is stunned after reading transcripts of 911 workers' and emergency officials' response to a fire that killed his brother and niece.

Marvin Krohe says he had no idea why it took firefighters at least 25 minutes to get to his brother's mobile home fire last year.

â??It was really shocking when I got the news originally you know for the fire,â?? he said. â??Then I read this. It's awful.â??

Bud and his daughter Janette Krohe died in the April 15, 2012 blaze. The state fire marshal said that the fire was not caused by arson. An autopsy later revealed that the father and daughter died of smoke inhalation.

The Beardstown Star-Gazette newspaper published the full transcript of the 911 conversations this week.

Beardstown Mayor Bob Walters said fire response should have been immediate.

â??This is a serious situation and it was handled very poorly not only by the dispatcher, but once the fire department was made aware of it, whether he thought that it was serious or not, he should have said, 'There is a fire, we are on our way,'â?? Walters said.

Cass County 911 officials would not release the tapes of the incident to KHQA Thursday. The station made a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the 911 call.

A full transcript of the events can be viewed at the Star-Gazette's

web site

. The audo version can be heard on WICS TV web site.

The transcript doesn't identify the names of the dispatchers, emergency responders and callers who spoke during the more than one hour of phone calls made to the 911 center in Virginia, Ill.

The man who made the initial 911 call appeared frustrated at times with the dispatcher.

â??Buddy, I'm telling you what, you better get somebody out there,â?? he said. â??Somebody should be here now.â??

The dispatcher hung up the phone after nearly three minutes. He called the fire and ambulance service and explained that there was a fire on Krohe's property.

â??Yeah, he's got a habit of burning (expletive deleted),â?? the man who answered the phone said.

The dispatcher continued to reiterate that he'd only received one phone call about the fire.

â??I haven't had any other calls on this which is kind of strange,â?? the dispatcher said.

Fifteen minutes after the initial call, a phone call was made to the Beardstown Fire Station where the fire was then labeled a â??legitimate fire.â??

About 23 minutes after the first call came in, a firefighter confirmed that the entire trailer was destroyed.

â??This trailer is completely down,â?? one of the responders said.

After 25 minutes a responder confirmed that someone was dead in the rubble.

â??I notified the coroner, the sheriff's going to be coming and we have the fire marshal going to be coming, too,â?? he said.

Beardstown Fire Chief Darin Paul said Thursday that he understand's the family's grief about the situation.

â??There were a lot of confusing events that night,â?? he said. â??Believe me, I have listened to the tapes numerous times and hit many flaws in it.â??